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What is an Ignition Interlock Exemption?
So, what is ignition interlock exemption mean exactly? We've got all the details you need to know here in our latest blog post!
When someone is convicted of a DUI, it’s due to the fact that they operated a motor vehicle while their blood alcohol concentration was above the legal limit. Driving while intoxicated can result in the revocation or suspension of your driver’s license, however, there is much more involved with this violation.
If your state court has convicted you of a DUI, there’s a solid chance that you’ll be required to have an ignition interlock device (IID) installed in your vehicle. And, if this is a repeat offense, that high likelihood of mandatory IID time turns into a 100% certainty, regardless of what state you reside in—that is, unless you qualify for an ignition interlock exemption.
In some special drunk driving cases, it’s possible to obtain absolution from mandatory IID time by applying for an ignition interlock exemption. Naturally, there’ll be a rigorous criterion you must meet in order to fulfill the prerequisites.
Are you curious as to what types of exemptions are available and what you must do to qualify for them? Read on to find out!
What is an Ignition Interlock Exemption?
Simply put, if granted reprieve, a person convicted of a DUI won’t be required to have an interlock device installed. Ignition interlock program exemptions are most commonly given out for one of three reasons:
Hardship exemption Work exemption Medical exemption
Below, we’ll briefly delve into the rules and regulations relating to these three exemption categories.
Depending on your state, you may be able to qualify for a general ignition interlock exemption. Typically, this is tied into your ownership, or lack thereof, of a registered vehicle. In California, for example, you have one opportunity to qualify for an exemption. You must apply within 30 days of receiving notification of mandatory IID installation.
To apply for an exemption you must fill out the Exemption Form DL 4055B, which acknowledges the following mandatory restrictions:
You do not own a vehicle.
You do not have access to a vehicle where you live.
You no longer have access to the vehicle used during the DUI.
You will then have to acknowledge the following:
You can only drive a vehicle fitted with an IID
You must have a valid driver license before you can drive again.
If you purchase or gain access to a vehicle within the time frame of your mandatory IID time, you will install an IID in it.
Today, 21 states allow for an employer IID exemption. They are:
Alaska Arkansas California Hawaii Illinois Kansas Kentucky Louisiana Maryland Michigan Minnesota Mississippi New York Oklahoma Oregon South Carolina Texas Utah Virginia Washington Wyoming
In these states, if you wish to use your employer’s vehicle, you’ll have to apply and qualify. In order to satisfy state rules, the motor vehicle must be:
Used solely for work-related purposes
Owned/leased and maintained by the employer.
Even if you are granted an exemption, the vehicles can’t be used for personal purposes. In addition, there are several binding constraints, including:
Locations you can drive to
Max hours driven per day
Max hours driven per week
To apply, you must fill out a form such as Washington’s Employer Declaration for Ignition Interlock Exemption. After that you’ll be required to certify the following:
The exemption is for business purposes and not personal use.
The vehicles are owned by the business, and you don’t own or partially own that same business.
You aren’t self-employed.
You must have an IID in your personal vehicle.
You’ll alert the DMV within two weeks if you change places of employment.
If you qualify, you’re legally required to tell your employer about your DUI and exemption. That exemption will last for 365 days, but if your IID sentencing is longer than that, then you’ll have to reapply once the year is up. Those found guilty of violating these terms and conditions will be subject to felony charges and punishments such as probation, suspension, IID extensions, jailing, and/or fines.
Most states allow for an exemption on ignition interlock devices based on a person’s medical history. In Oregon, for example, ORS 813.602(3)(b) details that certain drivers can qualify for medical reasons so long as they meet the following criteria:
If the driver gives the DMV proof that they have a medical condition or impairment that prevents them from being able to either fully operate an IID or to operate the device safely.
Proof must be provided by a state-licensed or certified primary care provider or health care provider. They’ll confirm that their client’s medical condition impedes their ability to use an IID safely or effectively.
To apply for the medical exemption, the driver must submit IID Medical Exemption form 73506941. If their medical condition or functional impairment is only temporary, the DMV may also issue a temporary IID medical exemption that expires at a certain date.
Ignition Interlock Exemption
Do I need an ignition interlock device if I don't own a car?
If the court ordered you to install an ignition interlock device (IID), but you do not have a car, you can request an exemption.
Do I need an ignition interlock device if I don’t own a car?
Posted on August 8, 2021
No Car? Request an IID exemption.
If the court ordered you to install an ignition interlock device (IID), but you do not have a car, you can request an exemption. By filing a declaration of non-ownership form, you ask the court to waive the IID requirement.
Declarations of non-ownership have strict requirements. If any one of them is not met, the court will not waive its order. You will still have to install the IID in your vehicle, or in a vehicle that you can access.
Not installing the IID, or driving in a vehicle that does not have one installed, violate the terms of DUI probation.
What is a declaration of non-ownership?
A declaration of non-ownership is a legal document filed with the Department of Motor Vehicles or with the court. The form states that you do not own or have access to a vehicle. It claims that your lack of a vehicle should make you exempt from a court’s order that you install an IID. It also makes you acknowledge that you are not allowed to drive without an IID.
In California, the declaration of non-ownership is a single-page form. It follows the rules that are set out in California Vehicle Code 23575.3(d)(2). The form exempts drivers from the IID requirement in two cases:
they are not California residents, or
they do not own or have access to a vehicle.
It is up to the driver to support either claim.
What does it mean to not own or have access to a vehicle?
Drivers can be exempted from the IID requirement if they can show that they do not own or have access to a vehicle.Lack of ownership is a very strict requirement in California. If you have a car that does not run, the court will deny your declaration of non-ownership. You will also be denied if you have an approved planned non-operation for a vehicle that you own. If a court orders you to install an IID and you own any vehicle, you have to install it.Lack of access is also very strict. It is also vague. The strongest case that you do not have access to a vehicle is if no one at your residence has one. If your spouse or a family member has a car and they keep it where you live, though, courts may find that you have sufficient access to it. They will demand an IID be installed. Courts will also be suspicious if there is another vehicle registered at your residence. However, if you do not have the keys for that car, the court may be persuaded that you do not have access to it.
These requirements include the vehicle that you were using when you were arrested for driving under the influence (DUI). To be exempted from the IID requirement, you cannot still own, possess, or have access to that vehicle.
What if I buy a car, later on?
If your request for an exemption from the IID requirement is approved and then you buy a car, you will have to install the IID in it. This is also true if you ever gain access to a vehicle, even without buying it.
What are the penalties of noncompliance?
Not complying with the IID requirements can violate the terms of your DUI probation. The court will likely issue a bench warrant for your arrest. A hearing will be set. You will have to prove that you either:
installed an IID in any vehicles you owned or had access to, or
had an approved exemption from the IID requirement.
If unsuccessful, the court may tighten the terms of your probation. They may also sentence you to jail for the DUI and probation violation.
When does the form need to be filed?
The declaration of non-ownership form needs to be mailed within 30 days of the suspension or revocation notice.
If the form is not postmarked before this timeframe has expired, the court will deny the request.
If you do not provide the form on time, you will have to install an IID, even though you do not have a car. The court will expect evidence that you have complied with the requirement. When you are unable to provide it, the court may consider it a violation of your DUI probation.
About the Author
A former Los Angeles prosecutor, attorney Neil Shouse graduated with honors from UC Berkeley and Harvard Law School (and completed additional graduate studies at MIT). He has been featured on CNN, Good Morning America, Dr Phil, The Today Show and Court TV. Mr Shouse has been recognized by the National Trial Lawyers as one of the Top 100 Criminal and Top 100 Civil Attorneys.